Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves reviewed in Midwest Book Review

The Midwest Book Review writes of Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves: The Samurai Film Handbook: "Dissatisfied with the academic reference books on this popular Japanese film genre of samurai films, the longtime student of Asian and Japanese culture [Patrick] Galloway wrote this jaunty, learned reference providing 'historical background, cultural insights, production anecdotes, actor and director bios, and detailed plot synopses' for more than 50 of the films from the 1960s into the '90s. Besides the classics Seven Samurai and Rashomon, others of the numerous films included are Three Outlaw Samurai, Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance, Heaven and Earth, and Band of Assassins, as well as Samurai Reincarnation and The Razor: Sword of Justice and others in the series these two are a part of. Galloway's outstanding guide treats the films as part of the global popular culture rather than 'foreign' films calling for explanation in terms of some film theory or film critic's abstruse, involved ideas."

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Author Gilles Poitras to present and sign The Anime Companion 2 at Cartoon Art Museum

On Saturday, September 24th from 1-3 pm, fans of Japanese anime will have the opportunity to meet and greet Gilles Poitras, author of The Anime Companion, Anime Essentials, and creator of monthly column, "Below the Surface," for Newtype USA. Poitras will be at the Cartoon Art Museum to present and discuss his latest book, The Anime Companion 2: More... What's Japanese in Japanese Animation?, and will be available for book signing afterwards. The presentation is part of regular museum admission, the book-signing is free to the public.

In The Anime Companion 2, the long-awaited follow-up to the popular original volume, Poitras delves into hundreds of all-new glossary-style entries to help you decipher anime's distinctive content, images, and cultural motifs!

Ranging from Aikido to Zero fighters (with Japanese Mountain Vegetables in between), Poitras covers all the elements of anime in fascinating detail, including illustrations, anime images, film citations, and numerous references to the related art of manga. More than a guide, it is a pop survey of Japanese art, kitsch, history, food and daily life. Now with entries not only in Roman letters but also in kanji and kana (Japanese writing), The Anime Companion remains the best friend an otaku (anime fan) ever had, and a fun way for the non-otaku to learn about Japan.

Gilles Poitras first discovered anime while walking through San Francisco's Japantown in 1977. As a fan of foreign films, he was instantly attracted by the use of cinematic effects in ways that he had never seen in animation before. This began an interest in anime and manga that continues to grow after all of these years.

A librarian by profession, Poitras has used his passion to promote and document the legitimacy of the art form. In the past, he has conducted presentations for Japan-USA friendship groups, taught a class to Pixar staff, was a panelist on the pop culture segment for the Japan Society of Northern California's Year in Review series, introduced the Cutie Honey live action movie at the San Francisco International Asian Film Festival, and spoke at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

Poitras possesses two Masters degrees: one in Library Science from the University of California at Berkeley and one in Theology from Pacific School of Religion also in Berkeley. His background in theology has proven beneficial in that it gave him the scholarly skills to look at anime and manga with a disciplined eye. This has enabled him to employ anime and manga as a window into Japanese culture.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Stone Bridge Press purchased by Yohan

Stone Bridge Press, LLC, of Berkeley, California, has been purchased by Yohan, Inc. of Tokyo, Japan.

Stone Bridge Press is an English-language publisher specializing in books about Japan and Asia. Founded in 1989 by publisher and editor-in-chief Peter Goodman, the company has over 85 titles in print and has received numerous awards for publishing excellence, including two Benjamin Franklin Awards. Among its authors are Donald Richie (The Inland Sea, The Japan Journals) and Leonard Koren (Wabi-Sabi). Stone Bridge's books about anime, manga, and film have established the press as a leading source of information about Japanese popular culture.

"This is great timing. Interest in Japan is growing and changing," says Goodman, "and as part of the Yohan family we'll have access to new, cutting-edge projects and authors. This will boost us editorially both in Japan and the US, as we increase our staff and pursue new markets."

Yohan, Inc., established in 1953 and now headed by President and CEO Hiroshi Kagawa, has 120 employees and is the largest distributor of general foreign books and magazines in Asia. It owns several retail bookshops in Japan, including the well-known Aoyama Book Center in Tokyo, as well as the publisher IBC Books.

"We've known and done business with Peter and Stone Bridge for years, so this is a very comfortable match, with big potential for both of us," says CEO Kagawa.

Goodman will remain as chief executive at Stone Bridge's offices in Berkeley. The company plans to expand its output, especially in the area of Japanese and Asian popular culture. Stone Bridge and IBC will also exchange editorial expertise to promote new title development in their respective markets.

Stone Bridge Press will continue to be distributed to the book trade in North America by its long-time distributor, Consortium Book Sales and Distribution.

Pictured: Yohan CEO Hiroshi Kagawa and Stone Bridge Press Publisher Peter Goodman in Tokyo. On the table is Stone Bridge Press's most recent title, jrock, ink. which is about Japanese rock music's growing popularity in North America.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Photographer/Designer Markuz Wernli Saito to speak at San Francisco Apple Store

The Design Process of a Photo Book —
Integration of Image and Word

Thursday, 8 September 2005, between 6 and 7 pm (admission is free)
Apple Store San Francisco, 1 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

Markuz Wernli Saito
Photographer, Interdisciplinary Visual Artist

New media and the Web influence how we share and convey knowledge. Even reading patterns in books are changing which contain more visuals and eclectic information structures. Markuz Wernli Saito will take the audience through the design process of his just published book Mirei Shigemori, Modernizing the Japanese Garden and examine how various parts of contents converge into one coherent publication. The audience is invited to bring in printed samples, which integrate image and text to open up the discussion.
Markuz Wernli Saito is a photographer and interdisciplinary artist from Switzerland working in Kyoto and San Francisco. He is fascinated by the dialectics of humans and their environment. Focusing on independent artistic installations and photo assignments for publications worldwide, he is a lecturer at Kyoto University of Art and Design.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event.

You can also meet Markuz Wernli Saito on Friday, September 9 at his exhibit at The Noodle Gallery which you can read about here as a PDF.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Tokyo Zodiac Murders reviewed in Library Journal

Library Journal, August 2005:
"Shimada, a designer, musician, and prolific writer, delivers a complicated mystery revolving around a series of gruesome Tokyo killings unsolved for 40 years. Kiyoshi Mitarai, a private detective and astrologer, investigates the last written testament of reclusive artist Heikichi Umezawa, who was found dead in his studio one snowy night in 1936. In a bizarre and grotesque quest for absolute beauty, Umezawa had raped and killed his eldest daughter and dismembered his other daughters and nieces to create Azoth, the supreme woman. But where is his creation? With only a week to solve the crime, Detective Mitarai and his curious artist cohort begin dissecting the murders, the police investigation, and the suspects. As they chase down leads and look for missing witnesses, the pieces come together and then fall apart again and again. Nominated for the Edogawa Rampo Award and a best seller in Japan, this is an intriguing, well-crafted mystery with charts and crime scene maps to ponder over. Recommended for libraries with a large mystery following." -Ron Samul, New London, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 12, 2005

America and the Four Japans reviewed in Wisconsin Bookwatch

Wisconsin Bookwatch, August 2005: "Originally published in 1994, America and the Four Japans is an analysis of the constantly changing relationship between Japan and the United States that remains timely and relevant as it was a decade ago. Incorporating history, cultural commentary, and opinions from both sides of the Pacific Ocean, it portrays Japan in four different roles as related to the U.S.: friend, rival, role model, and mirror. Chapters briefly survey modern Japanese history, address the trade deficit, warn against wishful thinking on both sides, and reveal the common threads that tie together two strikingly different cultures. A 'must-read' introduction especially for international businesspeople and anyone whose career or personal interest lies in coming fully to grips with the dynamics of U.S.-Japanese economic, political and cultural interaction."

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves reviewed at Boyce McClain's Comics Corner

Boyce McClain's Comics Corner, #152 August: "In Stone Bridge Press and author Patrick Galloway's Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves: The Samurai Film Handbook, readers are given the actual historical facts about Samurai and how the sword-yielding warriors were translated to Japanese film. Careful and meticulous attention is given to the actors, directors and studios that made such a transition possible and Samurai films from the 1950s until present day are listed, explained and discussed. Black and white photos are sprinkled throughout the book with a special Appendix capping things off. It's an extremely comprehensive examination of the genre that Japanese film fans are sure to enjoy."

The Anime Companion 2 arrives

Finally, the sequel to the wildly popular book about anime!

The Anime Companion 2: More... What's Japanese in Japanese Animation?

by Gilles Poitras

The Anime Companion 2 boasts hundreds of all-new glossary-style entries to help you decipher anime’s distinctive content, images, and cultural motifs. Ranging from Adachi-ku (in Tokyo, seen in You're Under Arrest) to Zomen (a mask, seen in Spirited Away), with Miso Ramen in between (a favorite noodle dish in GTO), Gilles Poitras covers the minutiae of anime in fascinating detail, including illustrations, anime images, film citations, and numerous references to the related art of manga.

More than a guide, The Anime Companion 2 is a pop survey of Japanese art, kitsch, history, food, and daily life. Now with entries in kanji (Japanese characters) and English, plus maps of old provinces and current prefectures (and the 23 wards of Tokyo), The Anime Companion remains the best friend an otaku (anime fan) ever had, and a fun way for the non-otaku to learn about Japan.

Author Gilles Poitras is a librarian in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the author of The Anime Companion (Volume 1) and Anime Essentials, both published by Stone Bridge Press. He writes a monthly column for Newtype USA and appears in The Animatrix and Otaku Unite! documentaries. Dubbed "the most influential anime fan in America," Poitras has introduced films at the Smithsonian Institute and taught a class on anime at Pixar Studios. He is a frequent guest at anime conventions.

The Anime Companion 2: More... What's Japanese in Japanese Animation? Retails for US$18.95. It is 160 pages paperback with 35 b&w photos and illustrations. ISBN 1-880656-96-5

Monday, August 01, 2005

Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves reviewed at Sequential Tart

Sequential Tart - The Report Card: "Written with enthusiasm and overflowing with wonderful information, [Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves] will appeal to everyone from those new to the genre to the pickiest critic of such guides."

SBP books recommended for learning anime basics

In Wichita Eagle's "The eyes have it," both The Anime Explosion! The What? Why? and Wow! of Japanese Animation by Patrick Drazen and The Anime Companion: What's Japanese in Japanese Animation by Gilles Poitras are recommended reading as Wichita has its first anime festival.